Govt shoots down Masiyiwa’s rand proposal

By Richard Muponde

Industry and Commerce minister, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu has shot down the suggestion by billionaire telecoms tycoon Strive Masiyiwa for Zimbabwe to price all goods in South African rand to achieve price stability.

Masiyiwa recently said the country would do well to abandon the United States dollar as the currency of settlement for rand imports which account for 80% of goods sold in Zimbabwe, while also calling for the pricing of goods in the South African currency without necessarily joining the Rand Monetary Union.

Masiyiwa, whose Econet Group is one of the biggest companies in Zimbabwe, reacted after the price of bread almost doubled to ZWL$3,50 from ZWL$2 last week.

But in an interview in Plumtree, Ndlovu said the multi-currency system was ideal and advantageous because it allowed the country to have choice when trading.

“The multi-currency system is more advantageous in this regard than using one currency. We are flexible in trading in different currencies of the countries we trade in using their currencies. The issue of pricing needs a holistic approach,” he said.

“There is a tendency to profiteer. That’s why President Emmerson Mnangagwa made the clarion call that, although inflation is going up, we have to tackle it together with business and hope to address it in the near future.”

He said his ministry would engage those businesses who were pricing in rand and see how it has worked for them.

“We are going engage them and see how they are benefiting from pricing in the rand. However, we are very much disturbed by the unilateral price increase by businesses when we were in the middle of engaging each other,” he said.

Masiyiwa said if every business in Zimbabwe quoted their customers for goods and services in the SA rand, “it would go some way to eliminating the dollar arbitrage”.

“This is not the same thing as joining a rand monetary area, or customs union, which is a much more complex process. This one can be done overnight, and even voluntarily.”

Masiyiwa said over a million Zimbabweans living in South Africa can demand price parity in the rand.

He predicted that the switch to the rand as the main currency of trade would “improve the quality of life for our families and also improve general liquidity”.

5 Comments

  1. zanupf is very arrogant the rand can ressurrect the economy of zim zanupf cannot agree because most mines are owned by them and mnangagwa owns nearly all byo mines the steal mineral and sell in dollars these zanupf guys own even all resources of zim they dont care about zim people

    1. Petros Magomazi

      Can you support your answer

  2. thats true, zanu pppftttt……..

  3. Farai J Nhire.

    There is no way those allegations can be proved because there is no evidence. The business community needs to be educated that they will never prosper by deliberately debasing their own currency and disabling their own market. Beter leave politics to politicians and concentrate on proper business. It is also too much of a coincidence that these price increases come in the tobaco selling season and when civil servance have got their pay increament. One thing I am happy about though is the level of maturity that the consumers have developed. A lot of people have decided to live without bread and bear and I find this sort of consumer resistance interesting and useful for teaching these greedy dealers a very good lesson.

  4. In my OPINION and having been regularly visiting Harare’s down town shops, I realised that most of them are coming from South Africa. How they are converting goods bought from South Africa into Rands is mind boggling as the resultant price is more than double the South African prices. This I say because I visited South Africa with the view of comparing the pricing. If we go back to the 2008 hyperinflationary era, when people refused to use the trillions, they preferred to use Rands and it worked until it was overtaken by the multicurrency regime with the USD taking its dominance. The vice minister is entitled to his own opinion, but must not influence what the private sector deems to make more sense. I bet you that if a supermarket whose goods are mostly from South Africa is to sell its goods today emphasising the Rand price, they will take the market by storm and make reasonable profits without profiteering.

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